POLAND, Warsaw. Several crises caused an unprecedented structural change in the Polish pig farming sector in 2021. More than 30% of farms gave up.
As the National Pig Farmers' Association (POLPIG) reported at the end of the year, a total of 31,500, or more than 30% of all farms in the sector, have gone out of production since the beginning of 2021. However, most of these were small farms with only a few pigs, while the decline among professional companies with large herds has remained manageable.
According to POLPIG, the main reason for the multiple cessation of pig production was African swine fever (ASF), which flared up again with force last year. With a total of 124 outbreaks in farms, this 2021 was worse for agriculture than ever before since the first appearance of the disease in 2014, the association noted.
Production in disease protection zones unprofitable
According to POLIG, the designation of the disease protection zones weighs even more heavily, as the meat of healthy animals kept there can only be marketed at sometimes extreme discounts. Including the exclusion zones defined because of infected wild boars, only half of all pig farms were not affected by restrictions at the end of November.
The market distortions caused by the ongoing Corona pandemic, quarantine-related closures of slaughterhouses and record-high feed prices had further worsened the situation, POLPIG reported. For many farms, therefore, the proceeds to be realised on the market for pork had remained far below the level that would have been necessary for profitable production.
Government aid programme came too late
POLPIG assumes that the structural collapse in Polish pig production is not yet over. According to him, sow farmers are particularly affected. According to POLPIG, the aid programme launched by the Warsaw Ministry of Agriculture in late autumn to stabilise sow farms has come too late to stop the downward trend. The association is now hoping for a revival in international demand for pork and with it an improvement in the profitability of pig production in the further course of the year. However, in view of the renewed concern about ASF in Asia and recent declining prices internationally, this hope seems deceptive.
Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE